Police-Mental Health Collaborations: A Framework for Implementing Effective Law Enforcement Responses for People Who Have Mental Health Needs

Increasingly, law enforcement officers are called on to be the first, and often the only, responders to calls involving people who have mental health needs. To begin tackling that challenge, The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center released a framework to help law enforcement agencies across the country better respond to the growing number of calls for service they receive involving this population.

April 2019 | The Council of State Governments Justice Center

Police-Mental Health Collaborations: A Framework for Implementing Effective Law Enforcement Responses for People Who Have Mental Health Needs is a publication intended to help jurisdictions advance comprehensive, agency-wide responses to people who have mental illnesses. These responses feature cross-system collaborations between the criminal justice and behavioral health systems. The framework is organized around six main questions that law enforcement executives should consider to be successful in implementing or improving police-mental health collaborations (PMHCs) in their jurisdiction. These questions are:

  1. Is our leadership committed?
  2. Do we have clear policies and procedures to respond to people who have mental health needs?
  3. Do we provide staff with quality mental health and stabilization training?
  4. Does the community have a full array of mental health services and supports for people who have mental health needs?
  5. Do we collect and analyze data to measure the PMHC against the four key outcomes?
  6. Do we have a formal and ongoing process for reviewing and improving performance?

Written primarily for law enforcement executives, and with support from the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the framework also highlights jurisdictions that have excelled in each area.

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